Brianna Lennon makes several cogent and persuasive arguments about Female Genital Mutilation (“FGM”) in her recently published Student Note entitled, If You Prick Me: The American Academy of Pediatrics’ Female Genital Cutting Policy Turnabout. She successfully articulates why she believes that by prohibiting FGM, opponents are in effect reinforcing it as a tie to the former culture or country. However, although Ms. Lennon makes some sound points, she overlooks and thereby, fails to answer the most obvious question which is, who owns a woman’s body? If one reaches the conclusion that a woman owns her body, then the logical extension of this is that FGM, by its very nature must be prohibited and eliminated and is “wrong.” When a society dictates, through tradition or some other form of forced persuasion, what a woman must do with her body in order to achieve a placed designed for her in that society, then, she clearly does not own her body. Moreover, notwithstanding cultural imperatives, nuanced intricacies, traditions, or the values of the culture which practice it, FGM is torture and should not and must not be tolerated. Perhaps it was the realization of these facts which led the American Academy of Pediatrics (“AAP”) to rethink and withdraw its endorsement of a ritual prick to replace FGM. This article is in response to the Note written by Ms. Lennon and is intended to further the dialogue on the subject of female genital mutilation.
Broussard, Patricia A., "First, Do No Harm: Response to “If You Prick Me”" (2011). Journal Publications. 260.